Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Inception and ICT

Jonathan Rod S. De Guzman
STS X2 Group 5 Mai-team
Reaction Paper 1: Inception

I have a riddle.
The movie Inception talks about a very communal thing among all of humankinddreams. One of the least understood human sensationsdreamingwas attempted to be recreated on the big screen by Inception. In my opinion, the movie recreated the dream experience as accurate as possible. The transition between the real world and the dream world is very realistic and the portrayal of the beginning of each dream is exactly what all of us experience. Once we dream, we almost always end up right in the middle of a situation without a background story whatsoever but we always end up passing everything off as reality unless, of course, if we are experiencing lucid dream.
I believe that there is still much to be learned from the art and science of dreaming and that humanity is yet to maximize its full potential. Understanding the subconscious will be like and even more significant than uncovering the mystery of the depths of the oceans and seasa venture into oblivion, an adventure into the unknown. Unveiling the mysteries of the subconscious may lead to more precise and accurate representation of the human psyche and it may also unlock the key to harnessing the full potential of the human mind.
You’re waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you. But you don’t know for sure. But it doesn’t matter. How can it not matter?
Because you’ll be together.

Reaction Paper 2: ICT
                  37,602,976 internet users. 14th most in the world. 106,987,098 mobile phone users, 94 million people. 12th most in the world.
The national ICT consumer pool is exponentially increasing while the ICT infrastructure has remained stagnant and maybe even degrading. Our national policymakers are uninformed and uneducated about the uses and advantages of ICT thereby creating weak and, frankly, head-scratching laws and policies that hinder the potential of ICT and the merits of ICT use, one of which is the Cybercrime Prevention Act. Lack of regulation and to an extent even connivance of private entrepreneurs with government result in lack of competition and monopolistic and oligarchic tendencies among the main ‘competitors’ of ICT utilities.

                  The state of ICT the country is horrific and sadly, the future of ICT looks bleak; this is mostly due to the government’s incompetence and hubris. One thing we can do is to fight for our rights as citizens, as netizens, as techies, and even as non-techies alike.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Group 7 - Antonio Luna

Antonio Luna
Born October 29, 1866
Died June 5, 1899

Authors:

Dela Fuente, Maria Rizza Belle
Enarsao, Czarina
Felonia, Joanne
Guansing, Marinella
Manalac, Genevieve Kristine
Mendoza, Carlos
Perea, Arrenzo
Perez, Clarizza Rae
Quebrar, Maria Lovelyn Joyce
Santos, Erizza Rose

Abstract
           
Antonio Luna is commonly presented in history classes as a war general who fought for the country's freedom during the time of Spanish colonization but little did we know that Antonio is actually one of the first Filipino Doctors of Pharmacy. His contributions in the military as a strategic and tactical general is as valuable and excellent as his contributions to the scientific field. This paper aims to explore the scientific yet heroic life of Antonio Luna. This paper shows how a person recognized by his power and conviction could be Science’s aficionado.

Tags: Name of Scientist, profession, contributions, awards

A. Personal life

Born on October 29, 1866, Antonio Narciso Luna Y Novicio was the youngest of the seven children of Joaquin Posadas Luna and Laureana Ancheta Novicio. The former worked as an inspector of revenue under the Spanish government and it was during this time that he met the latter who came from a wealthy family. It was in Ilocos that they first had their children; Numeriana, Manuel, Juan, Jose, Joaquin, and Remedios. However, Antonio was born by the time they migrated to Binondo, Manila to live as merchants.

Jose R. that Antonio Vivencio, a Filipino historian, narrated in his book The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna the life that Antonio Luna had. Vivencio (1972) mentioned that Luna was raised far from a cry baby and at the age of six years old he already knew how to read, write, and to use the four basic operations in arithmetic. He later attended high school in Ateneo. As a student, aside from his academic and inclination in chemistry, Antonio was also interested with poetry. At the age of fifteen, he wrote the poem La Estrellas de mi Cielo (The stars of my heaven) dedicated to the students of La Concordia College. Excelling with almost everything that he does, he graduated with high honors from his Bachelor of Arts degree. He later on enrolled in the University of Sto. Thomas to take up advanced pre-pharmacy subjects because of his interest in Chemistry.

Antonio did not only excel academically because along with his brothers, he engaged in sports activities as well. He learned military tactics from Don Martin Cartagena, a retired Spanish Cavalry Major, and also developed skills in handling a sword, fencing and marksmanship. He also got musically inclined having the mandolin, guitar and piano as his instruments.

One particular event that had a great impact on his life was the rebellion headed by his uncle, Adriano Novicio. This led to the imprisonment of his father and brother Jose but was eventually released. Given the permission to study abroad after witnessing the said event, Antonio went to Spain to continue his course on chemistry but also became active in several nationalist movements.

Antonio together with Rizal, became part of the Indios Bravos which aims to show their pride as Filipinos. Using the pen name Taga-Ilog, he also contributed articles to La Solidaridad a newspaper that sought to bring political and societal awareness to Filipinos. He would later compile his articles into a book entitled Impresiones.

Despite Antonio’s demanding academic life and involvement with several nationalist movements, Antonio still had the time to fall in love. He was first enchanted by a young woman from Madrid. Antonio pursued her and was convinced the feeling was mutual on both sides. They continued to see each other until Antonio knew about her fascination on bulls. As a man of letters and science, it was something he could not understand. For him it was out of character, she had become someone far from the sweet and tender girl he met. Soon after, another woman caught Antonio’s attention - Nelly Boustead. Antonio and Nelly met through their common friend De Tavera. Get-togethers were often celebrated at De Tavera’s house and there Antonio had the opportunity to pursue Nelly but things got complicated because of Jose Rizal. Antonio found out that Rizal was also pursuing Nelly. Things got rough to the point that Antonio even challenged Rizal in a fencing duel just to resolve the matter. As a man, Antonio valued his friendship more with Rizal and gave way for him. Antonio even gave the prize money he received from a writing contest regarding compiled biographies of prominent Filipinos to Rizal. Consequently, Rizal left a testament to Jose Basa stating that if anything happens to him, he leaves the care of his publication, the El Filibusterismo, as well as its proof reading to Antonio Luna.

After resigning from La Solidaridad, he formed a masonic group and continued to read books about military techniques to prepare for the impending Philippine revolution. He also formed a fencing school having Fabian dela Rosa as an instructor and Apolinario Mabini as one of the students.

Antonio Luna also displayed a wide-range of capabilities in terms of military techniques. When the Filipino-American alliance was forged to bring down the Spaniards, Antonio devoted his body and soul to the revolution. But problems arose as the Philippine Revolutionary Army recruited any willing, able, and courageous man into battle. The rich who were recruited, started to grab the higher ranks, and as a highly cultured man, Antonio came up with a solution to deal with the problem. He trained and disciplined those who were being recruited so they would learn to earn the rank that they wanted. That same year in October, he established the military academy in Malolos to execute his plan.

Despite struggles within the academy due to constant fights, lack of military science and late receiving of salary, Antonio Luna maximized the potentials of the Filipino soldiers by lecturing them of the proper use of terrain to their advantage. Moreover, he imposed discipline equally among his members, not caring about blood-bound relationships. In one occasion, when his brother, Juan, violated a military order, Antonio had him sent to jail. He was armed with the belief that revolution was to succeed at any cost.

Amidst the crisis of war, Antonio Luna’s love for his mother prevailed. He often wrote her letters informing her of his condition, and convincing her to take care of herself and her children. Antonio wrote in his last will that “I leave whatever I own to my mother. Should I be killed, enshroud me with a Filipino flag with the same clothes in which I died and bury me in the ground…I would die gladly for my country, for our independence...!”

Because of his manifestation of loyalty to the ideals of the Republic, Antonio was promoted to Lieutenant General and later, to Assistant Secretary of War. In the absence of the Secretary of War, Mariano Trias, Antonio temporarily took over his position. Advocates for Antonio to be Premier and Secretary of war increased in number when the Paterno cabinet resigned.

Mabini and other prominent figured supported the formation of the new cabinet headed by Antonio Luna, believing that he has the strong leadership to confront the Americans and fight for the country’s own independence. However, Antonio’s opponents assumed that they would lose control of the Republic and planned to assassinate him. They lured him to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija and assigned soldiers to block every possible escape route.

On June 5, 1899, the plan was executed at the town convent under the signal of Captain Janolino of the Kawit battalion. Using his bolo, the Captain struck Antonio several times in the head. The other soldiers backed him up and shot Antonio again and again. He fell and died on the convent grounds at the age of 32 (Vivencio,1995).


B.  Academic and Professional Career

Villamor (1992) recounts the life of Antonio Luna. As said in his book, Luna learned his first letters at six years old. He attended the private school of Maestro Intong. There he learned how to read and write the alphabet and perform arithmetic operations such as counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers.  He also memorized by heart the Doctrina Cristiana (Catechism of the Christian Doctrine) written by Rev. Astete. This was a subject required to be taken in public and private schools in the Philippines.

In 1874, already eight years old at that time, Antonio transferred to Ateneo Municipal de Manila ran by Spanish Jesuit Fathers. Advancing his years of study in this institution, he showed his inclinations towards literature and chemistry. According to his professor Fr. Francisco Sanchez and some of his former classmates, Antonio frequented the library and the laboratory. He offered his service to catalog the new books in the library so he could read what he wanted. He also volunteered to clean the apparatuses in the laboratory for him to learn their mechanism and how they operate.

He completed his course of study leading to his Bachelor’s degree in Ateneo Municipal de Manila obtaining the highest grades in final exams, as shown in the certificates of promotion kept by ex-Senator Luna in his house in San Fernando, La Union.

In 1881, when he finished his Bachelor’s degree in Ateneo, as shown by his college diploma, he enrolled in advanced subjects preparatory to the study of Pharmacy in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. It was then the only institution of higher learning in the Philippines. In 1885, the university held a contest for the best papers in science in honor of the cardinalship of Rev. Fr. Ceferino Gonzalez, who was a prominent alumnus of UST. Along with other thirteen students, Antonio submitted his paper into the competition. His paper entitled Dos Cuerpos Fundamentales de la Quimica (Two Fundamental Bodies of Chemistry) won the first prize.

After taking the first two years of his course in UST, Antonio (with the blessing and invitation of his brother Juan Luna) went to spain to continue his course in Pharmacy. He entered the University of Barcelona to advance his knowledge on the said course yet Antonio remained active on writing political and literary essays for the newspaper La Solidaridad.

Despite his involvement with several political groups, Antonio obtained his licentiate in Pharmacy in 1888. He then moved to Madrid to pursue a higher degree in the same course. At 1890 Antonio finished his doctoral degree at Universidad Central de Madrid and became the first Filipino with a doctoral degree in Pharmacy. 

To further pursue scientific and cultural studies, he went to Paris for postgraduate studies. He assisted Dr. Lateaux in the Histological and Bacterial Laboratory, and Dr. Laffon in his Laboratory of Medical Analysis. There his dedication to bacterial studies and applied chemistry was well nourished as he was also under the supervision of Professor Swarst from Ghent. He was also able to compare notes with other foreign experts (who would later become expert bacteriologists) such as Drs. Kitasato, Buchner, Metchinkoff, Roger and Roux.

Antonio also contributed scientific articles to journals such as El Siglo Medico, La Farmacia Española, La Ilustracion Filipina, and La Revista Farmaceutica. The most recognized and significant of his scientific articles was the El Hematozoario del Paludismo (TheMalaria Hematozoa) which was a 45- page article published in El Siglo Medico in 1893. The article was positively reviewed by Dr. Pineau in Bulletin de Chimie and by Dr. Alberto Pulido in Boletin de Quimica Y Farmacia. (Santiago, 1994, 90-102)

In 1894 Juan and Antonio went back to Manila and set up a fencing studio. Aside from sports, Antonio’s inclination towards science never ceased as he competed with six other candidates to fill the post of Director and Professor of Chemistry in the Municipal Laboratory. Antonio got the post and worked as a chemist. Months after his appointment, Antonio was able to publish articles such as Notas Bacteriologicas Y Experimentales Sobre la Grippe (Bacterial and Experimental Notes on Influenza), and Memoria Sobre El Analisis de las Aguas Termales de Sibul which was a comprehensive study of the thermal waters of the springs in SIbul, San Miguel, Bulacan.

With the outbreak of the Katipunan Revolution, Luna was accused of being a member of the revolutionary group and was sent to Spain as a political exile in 1897. Due to the plea of his brother Juan, the case was dismissed and Antonio got out of prison. As he stayed in Spain, he read books about military tactics and guerilla warfare. He further studied military science in Ghent, and Belgium under the combat expert General Leman. (Villamor, 1992)

At his return to the Philippines, Luna was appointed Chief of the Armed Forces of the First Philippine Republic in 1898. He then later established a Military Academy at Malolos to train the recruits under his supervision. Although Antonio was caught up with the hype of the revolution, he was still able to nurture his love for science. He taught chemical analysis and its practical applications at the Universidad Cientifico Literaria (which is known today as the Scientific and Literary University of the Philippines). Furthermore, Antonio still had the time to be the publisher of the newspaper La Independencia. He was also promoted numerous times as Director of War, Lieutenant General, and later as Assistant Secretary of War due to his immense military skills. Antonio was also eyed as the next Premier and Secretary War before being assassinated on 1899.


C. Contributions

Before his involvement in the Propaganda Movement and other revolutionary movements, Luna was an active scientific researcher. He was a widely recognized pharmacist known for his studies on contagious diseases. He was an expert chemist, undertaking the first environmental researches in the Philippines. And he also studied Philippine forensic science. (Alejandrino, 1949)

In 1893, he presented a scientific treatise in Madrid entitled El Hematozoario del Paludismo (The Malaria Hematozoa), a 45-page experimental study on Malaria. Luna’s paper explored and illustrated the pathology of malaria. According to Filipino historian Manuel Artigas y Cuerva (1910), it received the “warmest congratulations of eminent men in the scientific world.”

El Hematozoario del Paludismo

Luna specifically studied the subject of malaria since it was a disease common in the Philippines where the Spanish Government has commissioned him for a scientific mission. The prologue was written by Don Alberto Pulido, an esteemed academician. He praised Luna’s work as highly interesting and he was astounded by the ease which Luna tests and synthesizes data as well as be updated with the latest techniques in handling bacteriology experiments. (Luna, 1893, 9-11)

Luna (1893, 13-21) describes in the first part of the history of malaria and the studies that had been done by different scientists in the field. Malaria was originally taught to be caused by microorganisms floating in the atmosphere. Several Italian and German scientists had published reports on a certain bacteria as cause of malaria. Scientists then began to lean on the theory that malaria was caused by a type of parasite although the specific type of parasite was not discovered until 1880 by Charles Laveran. Luna further reviewed and mentioned other researches on malaria and he was anxious of what he might find in the waters of the Philippines.

In Part 2, Luna (1893, 22-28) depicts other experimental studies and results on malaria. He illustrates the effects of malaria such as melanemia, and he discusses the use and properties of quinine bark as treatment. Hematozoa were considered as the main culprit in the spread of malaria and this was backed by several quantitative analyses by different researchers, including Laveran’s himself.

The third part (Luna, 1893, 29-35) is Luna’s technical review of the physical characteristics of the hematozoa based on his and others’ observations.  The parasites’ movement, color and parts were described and illustrated. A discussion on the parasites’ processes and response to stimuli were included.

According to Luna (1983, 36-40), the fourth part identifies the methods and procedures when experimenting with the parasites. Luna demonstrates full understanding of these methods due to his time in the Pasteur Institute and working with Elie Metchnikoff,one of his mentors and a pioneer researcher on the immune system.

Luna’s own results from experiments with the malaria parasite are discussed in Part 5. Antonio Luna (1983, 41-45) describes coloring the flagella using different chemical solutions to determine certain properties and reactions. He sought the help of Jose Luna, a doctor in the Municipal Service of Manila, to send blood samples of malaria patients from the Philippines for examination. He concluded that the physicians in the Philippines to use his study for reference, and that there is a lot more to study about the pathology of malaria.

Antonio then went to parts of France, Belgium and Germany. In Paris, he became an assistant in the Pasteur Institute’s Laboratory of Histology and Bacteriology under Doctor Latteux. In Ghent, he joined Doctor Laffon’s Laboratory of Medical Analysis. He also worked with other esteemed professors during his travel in Europe. He also contributed to scientific magazines such as La Revista Farmaceutica, La Farmacia Espanola, Siglo Medico and La Ilustracion Filipina.

Dr. Vallejo (2010) told that because of his achievements in Madrid, he was commissioned by the Spanish government to study the bacteria in contagious diseases and he went back to Manila.

In Manila, he was appointed the Chemist Expert of the Municipal Laboratory of Manila after he took a competitive test for the position. He studied the bacteriology of Pasig River and the study showed that its water is unfit for drinking. He published a report on “the rectification of the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the waters of Sibul.”

Public Health

As the Chemist Expert of the Municipal of Manila, Luna made notable contributions to public health as he undertook the one of the first environmental science research in the Philippines. (Vallejo, 2010) He is recognized to have analyzed preserved products imported into the Philippines. He found Pasig River unfit for drinking after making bacteriology studies on its waters. He studied the practicality and feasibility of using human blood as evidence in judicial proceedings. He made a report on “the rectification of the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the waters of Sibul”, which suggested the therapeutic and medicinal qualities of the hot sulfuric spring. The Sibul springs remain a prime tourist attraction today for its medicinal properties.

Philippine Revolution and Philippine-American War

Antonio Luna is a very important Philippine hero merited by his contributions for the Philippine Independence. According to Dizon (1957), he wrote articles for La Solidaridad, the Propaganda Movement’s newspaper, where he criticized Spanish customs in his column entitled Impresiones. However, he declined the offer to join the revolution against Spanish occupation insisting reform was a better path to tread.

He studied military science under Belgian General Gerard Mathieu Leman. He then started to take active part in the Independence Movement where he was appointed by Emilio Aguinaldo as the Director of War under the republican government.  He saw the need to discipline and train the volunteer soldiers and so he established the first military academy in Malolos, the Academia Militar, which gave comprehensive practical and theoretical training to recruits.

The outbreak of the Philippine-American War saw Luna go into seven major battles at La Loma, Caloocan, Pulilan, Calumpit, Apalit and Sto Tomas in just 4 months. As ammo and personnel began to dwindle, he was the first to suggest the move to adapt guerilla warfare which, according to former President Marcos, incorporated the ideas of Mao Tse Tsung and Che Guevarra. He also implemented the Luna Defense Line, a three-tiered defense line to delay the advancing Americans from Caloocan to Pampanga. In his book La senda del sacrificio, General Jose Alejandrino (1949), Luna’s friend and confidant, narrates Luna’s time as general, arming the Luna sharpshooters, men from a disbanded regiment who were both daring and decisive, and the Black Guard, 25 elite soldiers who attacked enemy camps by surprise.

The assassination of Luna was a major factor in the defeat of the Philippines against the Americans. Even opposing generals paid tribute to the military genius; Gen. James Franklin Bell went so far as to say that Luna “was the only general the Filipino army had.” (Marcos, 1968)

D. Awards and Recognition

            General Antonio Luna, who fought for the country has contributed things beyond the battlefield. (YourDictionary, n.d.) He contributed on the field of science as a chemist, histologist, bacteriologist, and pharmacist. These contributions paved the way for him to receive several awards and recognitions.

            According to Dr. Vallejo (2010) General Luna won first prize for his paper in Chemistry entitled Dos Cuerpos Fundamentales de la Quimica (Two Fundamental Bodies of Chemistry), which he won back in college where he studied literature and chemistry in the University of Santo Tomas. His doctoral thesis entitled El Hematozorio del Paludismo was also published in 1893. He was able to work at the Pasteur Institute and be trained in medical chemistry. He became a contributor to the leading Pharmacy journals of the day. Luna took the examination for Chemist Expert of the Municipal Laboratory of Manila, got high ratings, and was given a grant in 1894 to study tropical and communicable diseases and bacteriology of these contagious diseases.

             He was also accounted for the first environmental science research in the Philippines, which included a) Bacteriological studies of the Pasig River water, and proved that the water from the river is not suitable for drinking, b) therapeutic and chemical properties of Sibul Spring water, and c) the first study on Philippine Forensic Science, and proved that human blood can be used as an evidence to solve criminal cases and judicial proceedings.

As a revolutionary hero, as told by Jose (1972), General Luna received recognition from the First Republic of the Philippines. He was awarded a medal for gallantry and valor in action. Inscribed on it were battles where he had distinguished himself: La Loma, Kalookan, Pulilan, Kalumpit-Bagbag, Apalit, Rio Grande, and Santo Tomas.




Media:



General Antonio Luna in his Military Uniform




 General Antonio Luna at the Municipal laboratory



The Luna brothers; Antonio (left) and Juan (right)



 Students of the Luna brothers dueling in their fencing studio



A clipped picture of General Antonio Luna with his co-writers in La Independencia



The death marker of General Antonio Luna in Nueva Ecija

References:
"Antonio Luna Biography," Your Dictionary, accessed May 17, 2014. http://biography.yourdictionary.com/articles/antonio-luna-biography.html.
"General Antonio Luna," Famous Filipino, last modified August 26, 2010, accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.famousfilipino.com/content/view/278/139.
Alejandrino, Jose. The Price of Freedom (La senda del sacrificio) Episodes and anecdotes of our struggles for freedom. Manila:  Solar Pub., 1949.
Artigas y Cuerva, Manuel. El general Antonio Luna y Novicio. Manila : Imp. de la Vanguardia y Taliba, 1910.
Benjamin Vallejo, Jr,. Interview by authors. Video recording. Quezon City, Metro Manila, May 19, 2014.
Dizon, Anacleto.  Antonio Luna : Dakilang Heneral. Manila: Liwayway Pub., 1957.
Jose, Vivencio R. Antonio Luna. Makati City: Tahanan Books for Young Readers, 1995.
Jose, Vivencio R. The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna. Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1972.
Luna y Novicio, Antonio. El hematozoario del paludismo su estudio experimental. S.I.: s.n., 1893.
Marcos, Ferdinand. The Contemporary Relevance of Antonio Luna's Military Doctrines. Manila: Bureau of Print, 1968.
Santiago, Luciano. “The First Filipino Doctors of Pharmacy (1890-93).” Philippine Quarterly of Culture & Society 22, (June 1994): p. 90-102.
Vallejo, Benjamin, Jr. "General Antonio Luna: Scientist, Soldier, and Revolutionary."The Philippine Star, August 12, 2010, accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.philstar.com/science-and-technology/601469/general-antonio-luna-scientist-soldier-and-revolutionary.
Villamor, Coronel. Chapter 3. In Biografia del General Luna. Manila: National Library, 1992.



Final Project on Alfredo V. Lagmay, Sr. by Group 2: Team Ina

Alfredo V. Lagmay Sr.
August 14,1919 - December 15, 2005

Miro Jan Benedict G. Navarro    Erin Faith C. Castro          John Paul M. Taylor       Shyrill Mae Mariano
2010-25812                                  2010-25915                      2013-22107                     2012-60404

Dea Marie Isabel A. Villarosa              Ezequiel Joshua D. Gruezo         Steven Matthew Cheng
2012-61382                                           2013-17857                                  2010-11134

Marinela Isabelle M. Capistrano          Sarah Joy Bonacua                      Arvin Wilson S. Alba

2013-44222                                                                                               2011-18060

Abstract - There is no doubt that Filipinos arent underdogs in the field of science and technology. Such is proved by the exemplary Filipino scientists like Alfredo V. Lagmay. This paper tackles the life and career of Filipino Scientist Alfredo V. Lagmay and his contributions to the field of science and technology. This is done as a partial requirement for STS X2, summer class 2014 under Professor Juned Sunido.

Tags:  Alfredo V. Lagmay Sr. , psychologist,  pioneer of Filipino Psychology, National Scientist


Group 8 (Team Heavyweight) Photos

This is a photo of not just another day in class, but a beautiful memory of how we learned more about science and technology with the help of an extraordinary and very inspiring mentor.

This is the building inside UP which is equipped with the tools and equipment necessary to hone young minds of UP students.


(Captions by Christel Castro)

Jose R. Velasco (Group 8 Final Project)

Jose R. Velasco
(February 4, 1916 — January 24, 2007)

Alcaide, Allen
Castro, Christel
Garcia, Edwin
Imperio, Etienne
Lazatin, Paola
Lorin, Kendra
Mendoza, Naomi
Ramos, Fevie Ann
Salenga, Darlene
Tarongoy, Sarena


Abstract

             Jose R. Velasco (February 4, 1916 - January 24, 2007) was a Filipino agricultural chemist and plant physiologist. He studied the properties of the substances used in agriculture, photoperiodism, and primarily about a coconut disease called cadang-cadang. He received recognition from various bodies for his works and in 1998, he was awarded and recognized as a National Scientist of the Philippines.



Tags: Jose R. Velasco, National Scientist of the Philippines, Imus Cavite Elementary School,  Philippine School of Commerce, Central Luzon Agricultural School, Central Luzon State University, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College of Agriculture,  agricultural chemist, plant physiologist, teacher, administrator, substances used in agriculture, photoperiodism, coconut disease, cadang-cadang, U.S. State Department Fellowship, University of the Philippines Fellowship, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Certificate of Merit, SEATO Fellowship, Gugenheim Foundation Fellowship, University of the Philippines Alumni Award, Colombo Plan Special Visitor to Australia, UPCA Distinguished Alumni Award, UNESCO Exchange Professor in Plant Physiology in Universidad de la Havana, Planters Product Achievement Award for Crop Science in the Field of Teaching, PCCP Distinguished Award in Pest Management, Special Visitor to Japan, Imus Elementary School Outstanding Alumnus Award, Outstanding Imuseño Award


Personal Life

Dr. Jose R. Velasco is a plant physiologist and agricultural chemist.  He is also a national scientist, a teacher, administrator and a family man.    He was born on February 4, 1916 in Imus, Cavite. He is one of the five children of Hugo R. Velasco and Guillerma Ramirez. His father is a U.S. Army in Manila while his mother is a housewife (Ongkiko, n.d.).

At a young age, he already had the dream of being a lawyer.   He learned the skills of typing and short hand that also led him to think about using these skills in finding a job to help him fund his desired law school.  But, when he studied in a vocational school, Philippine School of Commerce (PSC), he figured out that he is not for stenography instead, he noticed that he is good in English and history. As a consequence, he transferred to Central Luzon Agricultural School (now Central Luzon State University, CLSU) in Nueva Ecija and stayed there for three years.  He graduated salutatorian instead of valedictorian because of the lack of residency.  Afterwards, he studied in the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture in Los Baños, Laguna. He did this because he received a scholarship and he also realized that he is really not for law.  “Law’s loss was science’s gain,” said Velasco in an interview in the book National Scientists of the Philippines (1978-1998).  This time, he graduated top of his class, giving him the Joaquin Gonzalez medal.  He is also a cum laude (1940) in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Major in Agricultural Chemistry (Ongkiko, n.d.).

He worked as a teacher after he graduated.  He was described by his students as intimidating but they always remember him as a man of integrity.  And since he always works hard, he didn’t expect anything less from others.  He seems happiest when he researches or reads (Ongkiko, n.d.).

On March 9, 1941, he married Felicidad Ibañez, a school teacher from Luisiana, Laguna.  They had eight children: Maria Dolores, Victor Hugo, Vladimir Fred, Jose Alberto, Jaime Luciano, Maria Natividad, Luis Rey and Vernon Raymund and 16 grandchildren (Eala, 1967, 529). Maria Natividad is the only one who followed his being a chemist.  Meanwhile, Luis Rey works in education and research.  Four of his children are in the U.S. while the others stay in the Philippines.  He decided to stay in the Philippines because it seems that he can’t leave his life and work here.  He is very nationalistic and supported the Filipino products and local projects.  He said that Filipinos should “patronize products made by Filipinos” (Ongkiko, n.d.).

He died at the age of 90 on January 24, 2007.


Academic and Professional Career

Jose R. Velasco, also known as Pepe, completed his elementary education at Imus Elementary School in Cavite. His skill in making a way out of every arguments he had with his older brother, Constantino when he was young, paved the way for him to dream about becoming a lawyer. But unfortunately, his parents weren't financially capable to send him to an academic high school so he was instead sent to a vocational high school, the Philippine School of Commerce. There, he was to study stenography. However, while he was at PSC, he discovered that he had no skills in typing which resulted to nearly failing it. Because of this, his father suggested that Pepe should transfer to an agricultural high school. He then moved to the Central Luzon Agricultural School, now the Central Luzon State University or CLSU. In order to sustain his needs, he worked as a rice farmer for three year in Nueva Ecija. In the end, his hard work paid off and graduated salutatorian (Ongkiko, n.d.).

For his college education, he enrolled in the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA) in Los Banos, Laguna. His reasons for getting his tertiary studies there were: his mother's concern for him and the scholarship grants for top high school graduates. At UPCA, he decided to study mathematics and chemistry. That time, he had decided to forgo his law school dream but was certain that he didn't want to be a farmer. He graduated cum laude in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Agricultural Chemistry. His father and his brother weren't able to make it to his graduation, but his mother was there to see him receive the Joaquin Gonzalez medal for graduating at the top of his class. On a side note, according to Dr. Velasco, mathematics was his best subject (Ongkiko, n.d.).

Dr. Velasco didn't just only focus in academics, he was also into sports. Though he did not actually excelled in the field events, he was still in the varsity team. The best he got in shot put was third place in an inter-university competition. He also were in the boxing team but didn't win any major fights (Ongkiko, n.d.).

Jose Velasco taught at the UPCA Department of Agricultural Botany for several years. His service was apparently interrupted at different times by WWII (1941-1943), by his stint as US Department of State scholar to the University of California Berkeley (1946-1947), and by a UP Fellowship award to continue his studies at the aforementioned American university (1947-1949) (Ongkiko, n.d.).

At Berkeley, he enrolled in the straight Ph.D program and completed his studies in three years. When he went back to Los Banos in 1949, he had a Doctorate degree in Plant Psychology. He was a research professor, director of research director of instruction, chairman of the department of botany, and editor of the Philippine Agriculturist (the college's scientific journal) at the UPCA till 1965 (Ongkiko, n.d.).

In 1965, he transferred to UP Diliman in Quezon City. There, he became a botany professor and UP Quezon Land Grant manager. After 2 years, he left his teaching profession to serve as the Commissioner of the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), for 10 years (Ongkiko, n.d.).


Contributions

Dr. Velasco, as an agricultural chemist, focused on the properties of the substances used in agriculture. He also studied different aspects involved in the life of plants and this include photoperiodism of plants or how they respond to different lighting periods. His study on the said subject led to his discovery that the Elon-elon variety of rice is capable of flowering during short days which have 12 hours (Ongkiko, n.d.).

His major study is about the coconut disease called cadang-cadang which is one of the main problems of small coconut farmers in the Philippines. This disease was the cause of the death of coconut trees in Bicol Region with an earliest occurrence in 1926 at San Miguel Island, Tobacco, Albay until more subsequent cases were reported in other areas (Velasco, 1999, 68).

A coconut tree suffering from cadang-cadang has small, irregularly shaped, bright yellow spots on the leaves and these spots would eventually grow bigger because of chlorosis. The affected leaflets will turn smaller and brittle and the production of flowers and nut will also decrease. The leaves will gradually fall until the remains will only be a bunch of yellow leaves with a dark green center of upright leaves at the top of the trees which indicates the death of the tree (Ongkiko, n.d.).

Dr. Velasco believed that cadang-cadang was caused by an abnormal soil condition contrary to the popular belief that it was caused by a virus or bacteria. The hardest part in proving his theory is in finding the causes of cadang-cadang; but because of his perseverance and diligence as a researcher and a scientist, he was able to find some literature which led him and his team in concluding that this blight might probably be caused by rare earths found in the soil. He also studied which elements of the rare-earths are the most probable cause of the disease (Ongkiko, n.d.). An example of his study regarding this is titled “Rare Earths in Coconut Groves Affected by the Cadang-cadang Disease” (Velasco, 1999, 68).

He is truly a strong-willed and firm scientist for he continued his so-called “search for certainty” for the cause of cadang-cadang even though he learned from the literature that many researches showed that cadang-cadang is probably caused by viruses, nutritional imbalance of the soil, poor drainage, stress, or microorganisms (Ongkiko, n.d.). His researches greatly contributed to the knowledge in agriculture in the Philippines and can spark possible agricultural innovations in the future.


Recognition and Awards Received

Even during his early years, Jose Velasco has already excelled in his studies

High School: Salutatorian, Central Luzon Agricultural School (now Central Luzon State University)
College, 1940: Cum Laude, BS Agricultural Chemistry, University of the Philippines

Due to his numerous works and important contributions to our society, Dr. Velasco was recognized by different bodies which has given him due recognition and awards

1946-1947: Fellowship, U.S. State Department
1947-1949: Fellowship, University of the Philippines
1959: Certificate of Merit, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources
1963: Fellowship, SEATO
1963: Fellowship, Gugenheim Foundation
1967: University of the Philippines Alumni Award
1970: Colombo Plan Special Visitor to Australia
1971: UPCA Distinguished Alumni Award
1972: UNESCO Exchange Professor in Plant Physiology in Universidad de la Havana, Cuba
1974: Planters Product Achievement Award for Crop Science in the Field of Teaching
1974: PCCP Distinguished Award in Pest Management
1976: Special Visitor to Japan
1981: Outstanding Alumnus Award, Imus Elementary School
1991: Outstanding Alumnus Award, Imus Elementary School
1996: Outstanding Imuseño Award

And lastly, he was also one of the top scientists recognized by the government and awarded with the most prestigious award any Filipino scientist would hope for.

1998: National Scientist of the Philippines


Media
Portrait of Jose R. Velasco by Naomi Mendoza


Photos of Central Luzon State University Science High School, the high school Jose R. Velasco attended. Photos taken by Jeno Julius Garcia.


References

[1] Velasco, Jose R.. 1999. Selected Papers of Jose R. Velasco. National Academy of Science and   Technology, Bictuan, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines.

[2] Ongkiko, Ila Virginia C.  Jose R. Velasco Plant Physiologist on the Trail of a Coconut Killer. National Scientists of the Philippines (1978-1998). Department of Science and Technology – National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines. Anvil Publishing, Inc..

[3] Eala, Quintin A. 1967. Philippine Men of Science. Sojer, Beatrice, Torrijos, Delia, et. al.. Volume 2. National Institute of Science and Technology, Manila, Philippines.

[4] Famous Filipino dot com. 2006. Jose R. Velasco. http://www.famousfilipino.com/content/view/82/116/. Accessed May 24, 2014.